10:50 AM

“But For Ohio State” Campaign opens doors for students

Studying abroad as a college student can be life-changing. It can also be out of reach financially for many students.

According to the 2015 Open Doors Report, Ohio State ranks 7th among the nation’s colleges and universities in students studying abroad, and 2nd in the nation for the number of students participating in short-term programs (studying abroad for one to eight weeks).

The importance of studying abroad is what motivated Keith and Linda Monda to donate $5 million to create the Keith and Linda Monda International Experience Scholarships in the College of Arts and Sciences, which enables 50 students a year to deepen their understanding of themselves and global issues and cultures through firsthand experiences.

“Linda and I are deeply committed to fostering opportunities for students to broaden their world view and deepen their understanding of global issues,” said Keith Monda. “Traveling and studying abroad is a life-changing experience and we must find a way to make study abroad accessible and affordable for all.”

For Haleigh Caldwell, a first-generation student from Gallipolis, the scholarship provided an opportunity to go to England and France, and a chance to grow. It also was her first time on a plane and the first time anyone in her family had traveled outside the U.S.

Caldwell at Big Ben in LondonCaldwell at Eiffel Tower

Caldwell’s is one of a thousand stories of students who have benefited from the But For Ohio State Campaign, which closes this week after hitting an Ohio State record for total donations and amount raised.

Caldwell describes herself as someone who likes to stay busy. In high school, she was very active in athletics and clubs, and also worked part-time, with her eye on the goal of going to college.

“Ever since I can remember, a college education has been in my sights. My high school career consisted of doing everything humanly possible to prepare eligibility for admittance. Not only was this a personal goal, but something I wanted to do for my family, to make them proud.”

Caldwell, now a junior studying speech and hearing science, was a freshman when she attended a seminar led by an alumnus who was chaperoning a study abroad trip in the spring.

“I took home the post card Sarah had handed out and just set it on my desk at first, but the reality of how this opportunity is actually possible for me now didn't leave my mind for weeks. I did all of my research on this trip, on other trips, costs, scholarships, time frames, everything you could think of. After I closed my sights on the MUNDO trip of Multicultural Histories and Legacies of London and Paris, Sarah's trip, it was time to ask Mom and Dad.”

The Monda Scholarship provided the majority of the funds Caldwell needed to pay for her experience. She met the balance by working and asking family for funding for the trip as Christmas and birthday presents.

The study abroad program explored London and Paris from two perspectives-as a tourist and from an educational perspective, focusing on history and how residents’ lives have been shaped by multicultural groups and immigration.

In London and Paris, she and fellow students visited tourist sites and also learned about both cities’ histories and challenges.

After earning her bachelor’s degree (with a minor in coaching education), Caldwell hopes to go to graduate school to earn a master’s degree and become a speech language pathologist and possibly a coach.

She says, “I believe both my college and study abroad experience has helped me grow. It has taught me responsibility and independence, challenged me, put me in situations where I had to make decisions, and fueled my desire to make a difference in our world.”

That transformative experience is what Keith Monda says he gained at Ohio State, where he earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in economics. “I want to make sure the university keeps doing for others what it did for me.”